Kyler Murray: Watching Murray, it's easy to see why he's rated so highly. He's highly athletic, with a cannon for an arm. You're talking about a guy who is only slightly slower than Lamar Jackson, with arm strength that will be in the elite rung of NFL quarterbacks. In a draft class with no seemingly "sure thing" QBs, Murray is the gamble who has the most tools on offer.
His biggest question mark isn't his height. It's decision making. Murray succeeded in college football on pure athleticism. It's not that he made bad decisions per se. Rather, it's that his athleticism kept him from having to make many hard decisions. When the athletic play was there, he took the athletic play. He didn't have to go deep into progressions, as both the system and his athletic talent provided opportunities to exploit. That he has only one year of starting experience means there's precious little tape of him making the kind of reads he'll need to make at the NFL level.
His second biggest question mark isn't his height either, but his overall bulk. Murray weight in at 207 at the Combine, but his playing weight at Oklahoma was more like 190, and some suggest it went down to 185. That's simply not enough mass to take the beating that an NFL quarterback will receive, even in this don't-touch-them era. Media types were fixated on his height measurement, but NFL types were more concerned about that weigh-in. Weighing 207 won't hurt Murray's athleticism one bit, but the question is if that's a number he can sustain.
Murray is a guy that has played on the stacked winning teams since high school. The deck has been shuffled in his favor, and playing teams that aren't inferior to his is going to be an adjustment for him. He's got great tools, but whether he has the skills to read defenses and the body to hold up in the NFL are big questions. I'd grade him a mid-1st.
Drew Lock: Drew Lock in a clean pocket looks like a top 10 selection. Drew Lock in an unclean pocket looks like a mid-round draft pick.
Lock is an extremely high variance player. He's a gunslinger and someone you can see tearing up defenses in the right situation. He's a guy who can make the challenging throws that only a few special arms can dare attempt. He can throw off-platform, from odd arm angles, meaning he physically can make throws from a poor pocket. But in those poor pockets, the decision making goes out the window. He trusts his arm and he's just gonna throw it.
Unlike the top two guys, Lock isn't a one-year starter, but he really didn't show the passing accuracy to play NFL ball until his senior year. It took him 4 years of starting to get to this point.
Lock helped himself at the Senior Bowl. He followed a good week of practices with being the best QB on the field in the game. He threw an underhand pass in the Senior Bowl because that's the kind of thing this dude would do. He's got an edge to him. There will be memes.
Lock gets compared to Jay Cutler a lot, but he often reminded me of another player: Brett Favre. Don't think about Brett Favre at his Hall of Fame career peak. Think of Brett Favre the 25-year-old quarterback who was driving Mike Holmgren and Steve Mariucci to early gray hairs. Lock isn't quite as freewheeling as Favre, but who ever will be? But he has that same kind of looseness on and off the field as Favre, not as tight at Cutler. He's going to win over the locker room of the team that drafts him.
That high variance worked out for Brett Favre, and it was so-so for Jay Cutler. There's a lot of ways Lock's career could go. He's my #2 QB, though, because he has potential that the rest of the list doesn't. He also has the highest potential of being the draft's Blake Bortles, so, there's that. Still, I'd grade him a late 1st.
Dwayne Haskins: Haskins is a smart QB, probably the QB in the draft whose grasp of the mental game is least in question. He has a quick, compact release that can distribute the ball around the field. Brett Kollman compared him to Jimmy Garoppolo, and that's a good comparison for how he plays: a lot of quick throws, feeding a lot of different receivers in the short and intermediate game.
He has little mobility to offer, regardless of Stephen A Smith calling him "more of a runner". In actuality, he had 108 rushing yards last year (1.4 per carry) and ran the 40 at a Leftwich-ian 5.04 seconds. In an era of increasing QB mobility, he is a traditional pocket-only passer.
Where Haskins raises question marks, besides his lacking mobility, is his ceiling. He has a very good chance of being Matt Stafford, someone that hangs around the middle point of NFL starting QBs. But his tools make it harder to see him going above that.
Like Murray, Haskins only has a year of tape to show, but at least his tape shows a lot more progression reads than Murray's. Still, his tape is full of screen passes and other college-level concepts that are less useful for NFL grading. When he did throw deep, it exposed the fact that his arm power isn't at an elite level.
Haskins is probably the guy most ready to step onto an NFL field and start. There's plenty of value in that. But there's a good chance he will be described at some point in his career as a "system QB". Putting him in a vertical passing offense would likely be a mistake. He's the same sort of QB as Nick Foles, who got that second-tier caliber QB contract this offseason from the Jags. That's where Haskins is most likely to peak. I grade him a 2nd rounder.
Will Grier: Grier is a prolific passer who lacks the arm power for serious 1st round consideration. This guy has New England Patriots written all over him. Both Brady and Garoppolo had arm strength as a knock against them on draft day, and they both physically improved in that area after joining the NFL, as well as got put into an offensive scheme that values quick delivery over making tight throws in holes. I will be so not shocked if Belichick tabs this guy as his next Garoppolo. The Chargers would be another great fit for Grier. Philip Rivers has average at best arm strength, and the offense is tailored to it.
The concern with Grier is that the offense has to fit what he can do, and there's concern that his ceiling could be Andy Dalton, another guy that's made a career out of playing around his limited arm talent, but who obviously is on a much lower tier than those other comparables (with the jury still being out on Jimmy G). I think he belongs as a late-2nd, early-3rd round pick.
Daniel Jones: Daniel Jones was coached at Duke by David Cutcliffe, who coached both Peyton and Eli Manning in college (QB coach for Peyton, head coach for Eli). You're going to hear that a lot come Jones' turn to get drafted.
He's not Peyton Manning, though. He's more like some combination of Eli and Alex Smith. Everything Jones does is... OK. He's entirely unremarkable as a prospect. He has the size you want for a QB, He's decently athletic. He has the throwing power for the NFL, if not anything that's going to challenge the upper tiers of the league. He's got enough mobility to move around and make a few plays on the ground. His decision making is... adequate.
The thing about being coached by Cutcliffe, though, is that you would expect to see more production from Jones than he managed. He was a career 59.9% passer, and only slightly above that as a senior (60.5%). His 6.4 yards per attempt were well below the Manning brothers. His numbers overall were only incrementally better than the previous QB in that offense, who later was an undrafted free agent. To be fair, though, the Duke receivers dropped an absurd number of catchable passes.
Jones is the QB most likely to be overdrafted. I don't think he belongs anywhere near the 1st round. He'd be a 3rd round grade for me.
Tyree Jackson: Jackson is one of my favorite what-if guys in this draft. If Will Grier could be Belichick's next Garoppolo, Jackson could be his next Jacoby Brissett: a guy with franchise QB-level physical gifts who really doesn't know how to play the position yet. Jackson has so many coachable flaws that need fixing, and I think a lot of NFL coaches would not be able to create the environment needed to do that much fixing, but Belichick and his staff does. They only had Brissett for one year before trading him away (which, by the way, was a terrible trade that should have earned more ire from Patriots fans, but the team's continued success - and Brady's lack of decline in 2017-2018 - papered over it). So we didn't get to see how far they could have taken Brissett with more time, but his stint as a starter in Indy showed how far they got him in one year. Tyree Jackson is both bigger and much more athletic than Brissett (he's 6'7", 250 pounds, and he ran a 4.59 40 - those are high draft pick tight end numbers). The odds aren't exactly stacked in Tyree Jackson's favor. I think he screwed up by entering the NFL draft instead of transferring and playing out his final year of NCAA eligibility at a bigger school as a grad student. He needed better QB coaching than he was getting at University of Buffalo, and a year at a top school could have brought him further along. As it is, he's extremely gifted but so rough right now that he's purely a long-term speculative investment.
He's definitely a late-round grade, but on a team that has the time to take on this project, he'd be super interesting.
Brett Rypien: F*ck Boise State and every quarterback they've ever had. Grade: XFL 7th round.
Other draft thoughts:
* Nick Bosa is a carbon copy of his brother. From regular stats to advanced metrics to measureables, they are within the margin of error from each other. Watch their Ohio State tape and you need a timestamp to know which guy you're watching. They're more alike then Henrik and Daniel Sedin. They're more alike than Rick and Nick Bruiser. If Nick Bosa deviates in any meaningful way from Joey at the NFL level, it will be a shock.
I watched a highlights tape of Bosa, and the first play it showed didn't pre-snap spotlight which player Bosa was. But after two steps and just beginning to engage the offensive tackle, I knew immediately which guy it was. Turns out the play was his first sack in college football, tallied in his first ever game in college, as a true freshman. It was the kind of rep that would stand out on the senior tapes of any of the 1st round edge rushers, and it was in his freshman debut.
* The wide receiver position is an isle of misfit toys. There's a whole lot of flawed gems. Three guys that have my eye: AJ Brown, Deebo Samuel, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
* AJ Brown doesn't have the long speed to be a top draft pick, but he's a great talent that's likely to go low 1st or high 2nd round. Similar skill set as Juju Smith-Schuster but both heavier and faster.
* Deebo Samuel reminds me of another Jarvis Landry RB-body-at-slot-WR guy that catches and forces missed tackles to rack up YAC. Probably will end up around Round 3 due to lack of skill set for playing outside, buy likely to outperform his draft position
* JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a big, faster-than-expected receiver who caught more contested balls than anyone else in college football. In a draft of flankers and slot guys, he's one of the legitimate split ends. He's very Jordy Nelson, a guy who gets open by using his body rather than speed.
* Jonah Williams feels like a Joe Staley type of left tackle to me, and mocks have him going much later than he should. He's my top tackle. There's a few other good tackles. Jawaan Taylor is an immediate starting RT, big and strong and swallows people up, but not quite the technician you want on the left side. Dalton Risner is crazy strong and probably is a day 1 starting right tackle. Andre Dillard gas great lateral quickness and projects to a left tackle in a zone blocking scheme, but fits less well with a team that runs power.
* Rashan Gary is a physical talent that lacked production. But I think he was played out of position like the Niners have done with Solomon Thomas. Both guys belong inside at 3-technique instead of out on the edge.
* Gary's teammate Chase Winovich is interesting in that he performed very well as an edge rusher in college, but everyone thought his athleticism wasn't great for the NFL game. Then he went to the Combine and ran drills much faster than people expected.
* Montez Sweat has been evaluated like a top 15-20 player, but medical (heart condition) allegedly has him taken off of many draft boards.